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I’m officially ‘poor’ at walking. Truth is, my flexibility is well below average too – and don’t get me started on my body fat. You see, this is the kind of analysis you can put yourself up for at this classy retreat in the Surrey Hills. This established spot on the outskirts of a pretty village an hour from central London is a health spa in the truest sense, complete with week-long programmes where diet and activity are closely controlled. Honestly, the last time I heard so much chat about carbs I was channel-flicking past Towie.
It’s a beautiful, stately spot that was once home to Lord Tennyson. It’s certainly had a lick or two of paint since then (most recently when it was taken over, back in 2015), but it’s retained its wonderfully creaky charm. It’s nothing like the overly slick and sometimes-snooty spas of the world – and all the better for it.
And while the main building might be old, the outlook certainly isn’t. You can get stuck into classic spa treatments, but those health regimes are as scientific as they come. I didn’t book in for one of those (are you mad?), opting instead for a Thai foot massage, deep-tissue massage and cranial osteopathy. All excellent, but if you want my top pick? Sound healing, which is basically gongs and crystal banged about a bit while you lie prostrate on a bed. New Age and perhaps a little bonkers, sure, but also incredibly relaxing. I totally zoned out and am not ashamed to say that I dribbled.
The food here is genuinely excellent. I felt a little for those seemingly starved of carbs (I found plenty, btw), but an exceptional and generously varied buffet at both breakfast and lunch (Ottolenghi fans will like it here), plus seriously good evening à la carte options, would be reason enough alone to head here. Grab a window seat and you’ll get a cracking view, too – out across 47 acres of well-kept lawns, lakes and woods
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